Zingano eager for rematch with Rousey

Since the UFC was founded in 1993, no one has lost a championship fight faster than Cat Zingano did.

That's not a very fun statistic to dwell on, but Zingano says she can either laugh or cry about it. And nearly seven months after losing to Ronda Rousey via armbar in just 14 seconds at UFC 184, Zingano is able to laugh about it.

"It sucks and it's embarrassing, but it doesn't represent what I'm capable of," Zingano told ESPN.com. "It's something that can smash you or something you can learn from, and I think I've learned a lot about myself from it."

What Zingano hasn't yet done is gotten back on the horse. Not yet. She anticipates returning sometime this year, but said she realized after the Rousey loss there were aspects of her personal life that needed attention. She's had several nagging injuries to recover from, but says her recent time off has been mostly due to personal affairs.

"It sucks and it's embarrassing, but it doesn't represent what I'm capable of. It's something that can smash you or something you can learn from and I think I've learned a lot about myself from it." Cat Zingano, on her 14-second loss to Ronda Rousey at UFC 184

"One thing that loss did was slap me in the face and let me know I needed to get my priorities straight," Zingano said. "The best way to set myself up for success is to get all of my ducks in a row. I need to be my best self, and to do that, I needed to take some personal time. This job is definitely not easy when you're a single parent, and my son [Brayden] comes first.

"Overall, I feel like I'm trying to get a full physical and emotional makeover for myself. I want to come back feeling healthy and strong. I expect to return before the end of the year."

In regard to an opponent, Zingano says she expects the UFC to make several decisions regarding the female 135-pound division this week, following Rousey's sixth title defense against Bethe Correia. The UFC has already announced that Miesha Tate, whom Zingano defeated in April 2013, will challenge Rousey next. Zingano says she hopes "whatever plans they are making, they are considering me."

Zingano, 33, hasn't lost much ground since losing to Rousey in February. ESPN.com ranks Zingano as the No. 6 female pound-for-pound fighter in the world and the No. 3 fighter in her weight class, behind only Rousey and Tate.

She says she still has no regrets regarding her strategy in the Rousey fight. Zingano rushed out of her corner in the opening seconds of that fight and threw a flying knee. Her momentum worked against her, as Rousey tossed her to the floor and locked up the record-setting armbar.

Zingano says the only thing she regrets is "fighting Ronda's fight" and letting the opinions of others get to her. Long labeled a slow starter, Zingano though the perfect way to shed that reputation would be to go after Rousey immediately.

"I stand by my decision," Zingano said about her strategy in the fight. "Throughout the week, every time I saw Ronda we would shake hands and she would say, 'Come on, let's do this. Let's put on an epic fight.' I was thinking, 'I don't want to talk to her. I don't want to be friends with her. At some point, I'm planning on being on top of this girl and I don't want to care what I'm doing to her.'

"But she kept saying things like that so I said, 'OK, let's do this.' What better way to put on an epic fight than a flying knee? I expected us to continue to fight. I didn't realize we were going to do a jiu-jitsu match where I'm flying at her and all of a sudden she's going for my arm again. I guess that's one disappointment I had. If I had known she was going to be going for my arms, I would have gone about it differently. I agreed to her kind of fight instead of my kind of fight, and that won't happen again."

Zingano, who trains out of Denver, says the response she's gotten regarding that fight has been mixed -- but the thing about social media interactions is, 'When they are inspiring, they are very inspiring.' Zingano went through a personal tragedy in 2014 with the death of her husband. She says one of the best parts of fan interaction is others relating to what she's been through and vice versa.

"I see people who can't physically, emotionally or mentally fight their fight, who are living vicariously through me," Zingano said. "I think fighting is something people can relate to. I know that I can relate to everyone on some level and seeing that make their day better is inspiring me to keep doing what I'm doing.

"What I want is a rematch with Ronda. I want that opportunity again. Whatever it takes. I know where I belong and I'm willing to do what it takes to get there."